Finding your future
Author: The Oxford Group, Published: 21 October 2019
Volatile global markets and technological advances mean that the world of work is constantly evolving and the future is unknown. In the absence of a crystal ball, how confident are you that your organisation has the skills and behaviours you need to deliver your future strategic goals - and what position would you be in if priorities changed?
Spotting leadership potential in your people can be challenging and fraught with bias. We know that current performance is not a good predictor of future aptitude and is no longer relevant, risking limiting your organisational growth.
The Oxford Group have conducted extensive research to reveal the behaviours and mindsets that really characterise leadership potential in this unpredictable climate.
We found four key indicators that are critical to a leader’s ability to grow and impact today that will also equip them for future leadership roles and challenges that cannot yet be defined. We call this The Oxford Group Model of Potential:
Motivated leaders set clear direction and realistic goals - establishing and maintaining a 'True North' for their teams. Their drive allows them to scrupulously prioritise, creating focus and space for work that adds value above and beyond BAU. It will also help them to maintain personal and team resiliance to bounce back from setbacks and learn from mistakes.
Leaders with true potential focus creating the conditions that allow others to thrive. They establish inclusive and psychologically-safe environments to ignite talents, voices and passion, and to cultivate connection and collaboration.
The future-ready leader will be open-minded and curious, anticipating the impact on their organisation of the shifting world around them. They will be comfortable challenging the status quo and taking risks to transform the organisation in the face of this change. They will encourage experimentation and innovation to explore questions not yet answered.
To maintain their effectiveness throughout their career and translate their potential into impact, a leader will constantly need to learn and grow. They will extract learning and insight from experiences and apply these to new situations to create sustained performance and success for themselves, others and the business.
The key thing to remember about this model is that being strong in just one or two of the areas covered is not enough to be tomorrow’s leader. An individual needs to demonstrate aptitude across all four indicators. Further to that, it is from the way that a leader draws on the different elements that the strength of the model really lies.
For example, with the shift towards more agile organisations where experimentation (Transform) is highly prized, focus and purpose (Drive) can sometimes get lost. Without this, there is a danger of creating chaos with no discernible benefit to the organisation. Instead, a good leader should be creating an environment that facilitates experimentation but combines it with a framework that has defined boundaries to find new ways forward.
Equally, resilience is a key skill your leaders will need, as is self-awareness (Evolve) – they should understand their own purpose and the impact that they can have on the organisation. Alongside that, they also need to be able to recognise when they are depleted and what to do about it for the benefit of both themselves and others (Ignite) if they are to deliver strategic and financial goals.
Your future leaders should consider many different options and then take an informed pathway through. They should have a natural curiosity that keeps them enquiring - scanning the environment, anticipating change and considering new opportunities. They need to be demonstrating a considered balance between risk-taking and wise decision-making.
Using The Oxford Group Model of Potential as a framework will help you to spot future leaders within your organisation and highlight any critical gaps in your workforce so you can be proactive and targeted in your sourcing efforts to future-proof your organisation.